Neutrophils and Emerging Targets for Treatment in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Mariska Meijer; Ger T Rijkers; Frans J van Overveld


Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2013;9(11):1055-1068. 

In This Article

Neutrophil Functioning in the Human Body

When neutrophils are recruited to a site of inflammation, they can perform three main functions. First of all, neutrophils can act as phagocytes. Second, they can release bactericidal granular proteins, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) to attack infectious agents. Finally, they can form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs; Figure 1).[3]

Figure 1.

Bactericidal mechanisms of neutrophils. (A) phagocytosis by neutrophils (outline of cell indicated by dashed line) of opsonized, fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled Streptococcus pneumoniae. (B) Pathways leading to generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. (C) Net-formation of phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-activated neutrophils.